MLB Power Rankings 2013: Where Each Team Stands After First Week of Season

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MLB Power Rankings 2013: Where Each Team Stands After First Week of Season
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From a baseball perspective, one week does not mean a lot. However, the first few games of the MLB season give us at least a quick look at what to expect for the rest of the year.

Obviously, it is tough to expect players like Chris Davis and John Buck to continue their recent hot streaks. As good as Clayton Kershaw is, he probably will give up an earned run at some point this year.

When looking at the league, you have to take this first week with a grain of salt.

Still, it is important not to ignore what we have seen. With that in mind, here is a look at the latest MLB power rankings.

 

1. Washington Nationals

Even though Dan Haren did not have a good showing in his first start of the season, the rotation is still the best in baseball. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann will continue to get better, and it will make the Nationals very tough to beat.

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The offense is hit or miss, but as long as the pitching staff stays healthy, this will be one of the top teams in baseball.

 

2. San Francisco Giants 

Once again, the strength is in the rotation. All of a sudden, this young staff is experienced and battle-tested at the highest level of the sport.

The defending World Series champions will be around the top of the standings throughout the year, especially once Buster Posey gets himself going.

 

3. Detroit Tigers

Detroit got off to a slow start last season before coming on strong late and barely making the playoffs. It will probably be a better decision to just start playing well right away.

Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are picking up right where they left off, and they create as intimidating a middle of the order as there is in the majors. The bullpen is a little shaky, but the rest of the roster is solid. 

 

4. Atlanta Braves

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To say that Justin Upton has lived up to expectations so far is a bit of an understatement. The former Arizona Diamondback already has five home runs this season, including the game-winning home run against the Chicago Cubs.

Just for good measure, B.J. Upton also hit a home run on Saturday as the duo continues to make the front office seem like geniuses.

With a deep pitching staff full of young arms (plus Tim Hudson), this is a team that will challenge the Nationals for the NL East title. 

Although talented hitter Freddie Freeman was just placed on the DL (per The Associated Press), he should be back soon and ready to help this team dominate the rest of the league. 

 

5. Cincinnati Reds

It is hard to find a better lineup from top to bottom than the Cincinnati Reds. They have scored 38 runs in six games, and Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are yet to get going.

The rotation is full of inconsistent pitchers, but this team has the talent to go far this year.

 

6. Los Angeles Angels

This is one of those teams where you cannot let the early record fool you. The rotation is solid and the lineup has arguably three of the top five hitters in baseball.

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The problem is that two of those players are not hitting. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are not living up to their lofty salaries, and it could soon become a problem.

Still, you should expect this team to turn things around sooner than later.

 

7. Texas Rangers

Every time Texas loses a big-time player, the team continues to surprise you with its depth. In the first week, it was the pitching staff that shined behind great performances by Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando.

If Lance Berkman can stay healthy, he will make a huge difference on this team.

 

8. Los Angeles Dodgers

If only Clayton Kershaw could pitch every day, the Dodgers would be in very good shape. Fantasy aside, the rest of the rotation should soon be able to pick up the slack.

On offense, Los Angeles simply needs to hope that all of the high-priced talent lives up to the paychecks. 

 

9. Tampa Bay Rays

Last season, the Rays' pitching was unbelievable, but the offense could not score enough runs to get the team into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, this year could be more of the same as the staff hopes to earn a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 wins. However, the next three series will be a good indication of the team as they are all in hitters' parks.

 

10. Toronto Blue Jays

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Few teams made more impact moves in the offseason than the Toronto Blue Jays. They acquired hitters like Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, as well as top-of-the-line pitchers like R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson. 

So far, some moves have lived up to expectations and some have not. However, the biggest concern is Dickey, who now has an 8.44 ERA in two starts.

He usually starts slow, but there is always a chance that last year was more of a fluke than anything else. If he is not the ace that Toronto thought he would be, this team could be in trouble.

 

11. Baltimore Orioles

Yes, Chris Davis is leading the majors with 17 RBI and Adam Jones is hitting .538. That does not mean that this is all of a sudden the best lineup in baseball.

The Orioles are already struggling to stay healthy, and it will be tough to replicate the success of last season that was based mostly on winning one-run games. The team could remain high in the standings for a while, but a drop-off should come soon.

Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

 

12. Oakland Athletics

Like Baltimore, Oakland will be looking to carry over its surprising success from last season. The home runs are great, but this will be based on the team's ability to pitch with consistency.

Fortunately, the Athletics continue to put pitchers on the mound who always seem to be the league's best kept secret. If Brett Anderson can pitch a full season, they will be in good shape. 

 

13. St. Louis Cardinals

We should all have learned by now never to count out the St. Louis Cardinals. No matter who is managing or who they lose in the offseason, this squad continues to win games.

Once everyone is healthy, this team will once again be in the mix for a playoff spot.

 

14. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are likely the most surprising success story over the first week of the regular season. Not much was expected from this squad, but they are winning games so far.

With pure hitters like Paul Goldschmidt and Gerardo Parra and a staff led by Ian Kennedy, anything is possible.

 

15. Boston Red Sox

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It will take at least a couple of months to truly get a read on the Boston Red Sox this season. They are coming off one of the worst years in franchise history with a 69-93 record, but there is still a lot of talent on the roster.

Will Middlebrooks has already replaced Kevin Youkilis well, while youngster Jackie Bradley Jr. has shown a great approach at the plate.

Meanwhile, the one-two punch of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz could end up returning to form and being one of the best combos in the league.

However, a slow start might cause a lack of confidence, and they would stay at the bottom of the standings all season long.

 

16. Philadelphia Phillies

This season will depend completely on health for the Phillies.

Last year, the squad fell out of contention early when key players like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay missed time due to injuries. By the time everyone was healthy, it was too late.

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Based on the age and history of these players, it would not be surprising to see more missed time down the road.

 

17. Chicago White Sox

Can the veterans continue to produce like they have in the past? This is the biggest question that will need to be answered this season.

While the lineup is deep, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios play a huge role. Any falloff and this team could be in trouble.

 

18. Colorado Rockies

Colorado is already off to a good start, but the question remains whether it will last. The hitters are there, but the pitching staff remains a mystery (which should be a familiar feeling for the Rockies).

If Jhoulys Chacin improves his control, he could be a solid ace of the staff and lead this team far.

 

19. New York Yankees

Injuries have forced the starting lineup to look like a weird mismatch of players who were good 10 years ago. While the team is certain to be better when guys like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson return, things could get ugly until then.

It is hard to ruin a season in April, but a lack of depth could cause this to happen.

 

20. Kansas City Royals

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There are a lot of promising players on the Royals, but there comes a time when these young prospects have to become legitimate major leaguers.

The trade for James Shields sent a serious message to the organization. The team is tired of waiting to be good, and it is expected to compete for a playoff spot this season.

Hitters Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler could form a great core eventually. Some believe that will happen soon, but the smart move is not to hold your breath.

 

21. Cleveland Indians

Cleveland had some big-time moves in the offseason, adding Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds. With the group already on the roster, this makes an intimidating lineup.

Unfortunately, there should be little confidence that the pitching staff can continue to perform like it did the first time through the rotation. Except, of course, for Brett Myers, who gave up seven runs in his first game of the year.

 

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

Like the Royals, we are past the point of "the Pirates should be good soon." Fans are tired of waiting for a winning season after not seeing one since 1992.

Andrew McCutchen is one of the best all-around players in baseball, but none of the other young players have stepped up recently. If things continue like they have in the beginning of this season, it will be another long year in Pittsburgh.

 

23. Seattle Mariners

Despite coming off an injury-filled year last season, Michael Morse is proving that he is still an elite hitter. He already has four home runs and is batting .333 through six games.

Hopefully the rest of the lineup can learn what he is doing right and pick up the slack (looking at you Dustin Ackley and your 1-for-20 start).

 

24. Minnesota Twins

As well as the Twins have started this season, you will not find too many people that trust a rotation led by Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey

It does not matter who is in the lineup or in the bullpen, there will be a lot of early deficits for this team.

 

25. New York Mets

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There is a lot to like about this team. Jon Niese appears ready to become the front-of-the-rotation starter, while Matt Harvey could be one of the best young pitchers in baseball.

In addition, David Wright is playing as well as he has in his career after earning the "Captain America" nickname during the World Baseball Classic.

Unfortunately, the rotation is incredibly thin and the bullpen is already struggling. The starting lineup is heavily dependent on bounce-back years from veterans John Buck and Marlon Byrd.

There are simply too many "ifs" with this club to expect a good season.

 

26. Chicago Cubs

With 22 strikeouts in 13.2 innings, Jeff Samardzija is well on his way to becoming a top-level pitcher. Additionally, Travis Wood has shown signs of brilliance over the years.

However, is there anyone in the rotation you would really trust to give you a good game if you needed it? Not at all, and the lineup is not good enough to make up for a less-than-stellar performance from the pitching staff.

 

27. Milwaukee Brewers

Cory Hart is hurt. Aramis Ramirez is hurt. Ryan Braun is hurt, although we still do not know how serious it is.

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Either way, the Brewers do not have enough depth to make up for these injuries, and this will lead to a lot of losses.

 

28. Miami Marlins

We have seen this before: The Marlins trade away all of their high-priced players for young talent and proceed to struggle. The only difference is that they usually win a World Series first.

Miami has the talent to get back to the postseason in a few years, but the young roster is not going to do anything soon.

 

29. San Diego Padres

If the offense is struggling to score in places like Colorado, there is not a lot of hope for when the team returns to the cavernous Petco Park. This will remain a theme throughout the season, as the Padres simply cannot score enough to win games.

 

30. Houston Astros

Defeating the Texas Rangers on opening night was a nice moment for the franchise in its first ever American League game. Unfortunately, that might be the last highlight of the season.

The Astros followed that win by almost allowing Yu Darvish to get a perfect game against them, which was the first of five losses in a row.

Unless Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio come back into the lineup, this will not be a fun year for Houston.

 

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